W&M Mattachine Project – Summer 2016 Research Abstract

This semester I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the research team for the W&M Mattachine Project: Documenting the LGBTIQ Past in Virginia. Our team began archival research into Virginia’s LGBTIQ past at Swem Special Collections, VCU, and the Library of Virginia. This project culminated in an exhibition of our research at Swem that solicited feedback from the public. One concern that arose was a lack of intersectional representation in the records we were able to go through during the spring semester. This summer I will continue my research with the W&M Mattachine Project under the direction of Prof. Leisa Meyer and hope to address some of these suggestions for further research.

I will begin by looking through past research notes and some archives to look for possible records focusing on LGBTIQ people of color. My summer research will also involve looking through black newspapers in Richmond (“The Richmond Afro-American Planet”) and Hampton Roads (“The Norfolk Journal and Guide”) for any relevant LGBTIQ history in these publications. Prof. Charles Ford at Norfolk State University suggested these specific newspapers and I will utilize his knowledge of LGBTIQ Virginia history to look for further records of queer POC experiences in Virginia. I also plan to work with the Stephens Project at Swem Library to gain insight into some of the experiences of LGBTIQ alumni of William and Mary. The Stephens Project is a collaboration with WM’s GALA (The College’s LGBTQ Alumni Association) that has already began recording and archiving interviews of GALA members discussing their experiences at WM. I hope to gain information about experiences of being queer at WM while also being a member of another minority group from alumni I speak with or interview.

In addition to providing an intersectional component to the W&M Mattachine Project’s research with the work I complete over the summer, I also will be working on setting up this project for next semester’s research team. One issue experienced this semester was a lack of knowledge of related projects at other Virginia colleges and universities. I hope to create a database of sorts to better connect the W&M Mattachine Project to other research initiatives focusing on queer history in Virginia. This will involve reaching out to state libraries and institutions of higher learning to make them aware of our project and learning about any of theirs. Establishing these connections will be beneficial in both my research on intersectional histories and in the further research future students will complete.